approved-stampFor years we have always done milestone approvals either by verbal approval or simple email confirmations. When I used to work at Refinery (now G2) we tried doing the legal / contract version of project approvals. I found that method to be cumbersome and difficult to quickly deploy. We’ve decided to try something new and I think it’s worth sharing. We’ve decided to use Wufoo. Using this service we can share pre-developed approval forms which log client acceptance along the development process.

I’ve blogged about Wufoo in the past. I think these guys are one of the most underated Web 2.0 companies out there. Their interfaces a rocking and their shit just works real well. We’ve setup about 14 pre-defined forms, which can be shared with our clients for approvals which take less then 30 seconds to read and submit.

Here is an example.
Here is what we are hoping to achieve with this shift in our process:

Deliberate Action. It’s too easy for a client to just give verbal approval, or reply to an email. Filling out a short form is a deliberate step which requires the user to read before taking action. It falls outside the normal workflow enough to be memorable.

What am I Signing? A short explanation helps the client understand the impact of what they are signing without all the legal mumbo-jumbo of a contract. It’s enough to explain the point and nothing more.

What’s Next? Once signed, what does that actually mean to the client. This is a friendly reminder of the next steps which will be taken on the project along with a statement about what it means to give approval to this task.

Get to Know Us. A quick “Thank you” followed by a “Did you know?” We see this as another opportunity to interact with our clients in a way which helps us better know each other.

I sincerely hope you try using Wufoo to replace the old sign & fax forms of the 80′s. I’d like to hear the results if you do make the switch.